Podcast #35 is now available for download here.
Carrie Vaughn was our writer-in-residence at Odyssey 2009, where she delivered a week of lectures, participated in workshopping, and worked one-on-one with students. Her experience as an Odyssey student turned bestselling writer was invaluable to students. Her first lecture of the week covered matching the right idea with the right length. In this podcast, Carrie explores the importance of being able to write pieces at all lengths, and how to distinguish a short story idea from a novel idea. She suggests that considering the reaction you want from the reader is key to understanding the appropriate length. Are you looking for a quick, sucker-punch-type reaction or a more complex, resonant reaction? Another way to find the right length is to consider the core idea of the story and how many scenes, characters, and plotlines you need to illustrate the idea. Carrie also explains how you can manipulate length, turning a novel idea into a short-story idea, if you can’t come up with short ideas, or turning a short-story idea into a novel idea, if you can’t come up with long ideas. She also discusses ideas for series or sagas. Carrie uses her own short story, “A Hunter’s Ode to his Bait,” as raw material for turning a short story into a novel. You can read her story here, if you’d like to play along.
Carrie Vaughn is the New York Times Bestselling author of a series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty who hosts a talk radio advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. Publishers Weekly said that “Vaughn’s universe is convincing and imaginative.” Kitty and The Midnight Hour, the first book in the series, has over a hundred thousand copies in print. The seventh novel in the series, Kitty’s House of Horrors, was released in 2010. She’s also published many short stories in various anthologies and magazines such as Realms of Fantasy and Weird Tales, and is a contributor to George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards series.
Carrie graduated from the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop in 1998 and was excited to return as an instructor. “Once I was but the student. Now, I am the master.” Oh, and she’s also a big Star Wars fan. But she really does have a Masters in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She credits the intensive Odyssey experience with helping her cross the great divide between unpublished and published, and with setting her firmly on the road of professional writing, with the skills she learned and contacts she made.
A lifelong science fiction fan and reader (her parents both read science fiction), Carrie worked the traditional series of day jobs for about twelve years before turning to writing full time. She survived her Air Force brat childhood and managed to put down roots in Colorado, where she lives in Boulder with her dog, Lily, and too many hobbies. Visit her website at www.carrievaughn.com.
For more information about Odyssey, its graduates and instructors, please visit our website at http://www.odysseyworkshop.org.